Interview: Amelia Lane Paper Founder, Chanel White
Chanel White is the beautiful owner of Amelia Lane Paper, which is a paper-goods business for women who want to take control of their life and get organised.
We sat down to find out a little more about Chanel, the motivation behind creating the brand and to get some inspiring advice on how to set new goals for 2021 and achieve them.
Q: You are the owner of beautiful Amelia Lane Paper, can you tell us a bit about your brand?
Sure! Amelia Lane Paper is a luxury stationery company based in Sydney, Australia. We design products for women to help organise their lives. Our products are very practical and functional – we’re all about using the best tools to organise our time and achieve our goals – but just as importantly, they are stylish and beautiful. Who wants to look at an ugly diary every day?!
Q: What inspired / motivated you to create Amelia Lane Paper?
Quite simply, I was feeling overwhelmed, stressed and unable to keep on top of everything I needed to manage. No system was working for me and I also felt like I was neglecting a lot of key areas of my life. The Amelia Lane Life Designer was deliberately designed as an all-in-one planner. We make space for all the important areas of your life – your big picture goals, your health and fitness, finances, habits, and of course your actual day to day living and schedules. The idea is that the Life Designer keeps your attention on all these key areas so that you don’t feel like anything is getting overlooked. And by managing your time better, you can leave space for all the best things in life.
Q: As we near the end of such a strange and eventful year, what’s the biggest POSITIVE that you have seen come out of it?
It has been a strange one hasn’t it! I think for me, the biggest positive has been an appreciation of home and family (and more generally, living in Australia!). Don’t get me wrong – going into our lockdown in Sydney with a three month old and a 21 month old had me close to tears every night for the first week, struggling to give them both the attention they needed and keep up with work without any of my normal support network. But while it didn’t feel like it in the thick of it, I do appreciate the (enforced!) bonding time lockdown gave us. It meant I spent a lot more time with my daughter who would have been at daycare, and also my partner, who had previously been only seeing the kids right before bed, was now able to quickly duck downstairs for a coffee or go on a short walk around the neighbourhood before work which meant he got to see the kids a lot more than he would have otherwise. So getting that extra time together was something special. More generally, a sense of gratitude for our home and to be living in Australia.
Q: What is your advice for someone who’s struggling to maintain balance with work / family / social and everything in between?
This is a hard one. And there’s no great answer because it’s impossible to be all things to all people all at once no matter what systems you have in place! That said, there are definitely things I try to do to restore balance when it’s all feeling too much such as analysing where and how I’m spending my time and cutting back on anything that is non-essential (the “nice to haves”). Gaining more time and saying no to anything unnecessary can often ease much of the pressure we feel to do everything. I also know I personally struggle most with balance when my own needs are being neglected – when I’m tired or haven’t had any time to myself. So I try to actively schedule that into my planner to ensure it happens. It becomes a to-do list item rather than something that gets tacked on if there’s enough time for it.
Finally, I think you also need to be comfortable in life with knowing that often times there will be an imbalance for a season but that will change and whatever you’re neglecting now you will be able to focus on as those circumstances change. Right now, for me, it’s all work and family – the kids are at a young age, they need to nap in the middle of the day, bedtimes are hard and owning a business is demanding. So a lot of my nice to have activities – book club, weekend brunches with friends, early morning beach swims before work – are on pause until we get through this current season and the kids get older.
Q: When it comes to setting goals for the new year and smashing them, do you have any best kept secrets and advice?
Yes! I find goal-setting satisfying as it just comes down to actions and consequences. Firstly, there’s no point setting a goal you don’t passionately want to achieve. So let yourself off the hook if you know that you don’t really care if you can run 10km or clear your debt. Just focus on your main pain point and what you really, really want. Make it clear and definable and trackable then it’s simply working backwards from your set end date to schedule in action steps to take you there.
I start with filling in my Vision Board for the year. That gives me a roadmap for the year and how I want to feel in all the key areas of my life on 31 December. From there, I take those specific annual goals and break them down into smaller monthly goals. And then depending on the goal I put in action steps every week or day to work towards the monthly target. So things like weight loss goals have obvious paths – if you want to lose 12 kgs by Christmas that means 1kg a month and you therefore need to set weekly meal planning and exercise action steps to reach that goal. All our Life Designers have space for three goals a month which I think is plenty and normally it’s useful to have a mix of personal, health and work goals. Essentially, there’s no goal that will get achieved without a plan of attack.
Q: What are the biggest challenges to achieving our goals, and dare we say it, what happens when we fail? How do we pick ourselves up and get back on track?
I think the first biggest challenge is not wanting it enough. I know myself that in the past I might set some vague, lofty goals about losing weight or paying off my credit card in record time but in actual fact I don’t care enough to put in the work to do it or it’s unrealistic given my current circumstances so it doesn’t get done. So I think be honest when you’re setting your goals about what you can realistically achieve and what you are passionate enough about to commit to doing the work.
Then I think the next key challenge is life itself getting in the way – taking away the time you had set aside to pursue your goal or interfering with the motivation. To tackle this, I think it’s important to keep your goals front of mind (it’s why we include our Vision Board at the front of our planners and not something you do then hide away in your cupboard for the rest of the year). Write out each month’s goals in your planner so they are always there reminding you that you do feel passionately about wanting to improve and work towards them.
And finally limit a setback. Falling off the band wagon or getting distracted for a week or two is one thing but then to write off the whole month on the back of that will set you back so much further. Accept the mistake, aim to do better, move on and refocus.
Q: When it comes to setting life goals and achieving a big dream, who is your biggest inspiration and why?
Oh I think it is so hard to name just one person! I’m very lucky to be surrounded by so many inspirational friends and family members who have taken big risks or made massive changes to chase their big dreams. I guess the original person who inspired me to think outside the box with my career is my dad. He left a great corporate role when I was starting high school and risked it all taking over a failing business in a different industry. He has since been really successful and run quite a few businesses but it was that early roll of the dice that really inspires me.
Q: Do you think there’s a valuable connection between goal setting and self-care?
Without a doubt! You can’t muster up the energy, motivation and positivity you need to work on your goals when you’re feeling depleted and overwhelmed. Everything feels too hard and overwhelming. It can be challenging to see where to fit self-care into your day when you already feel overwhelmed and at max capacity so I think the key is to think of it as a necessity rather than an indulgence, aim for small things that done frequently will have a big impact and schedule it like you would any other essential task. If I had lots of time and no responsibilities my dream self-care routines would involve lots of ocean swims, pilates classes, some scuba-diving trips, taking some art classes and experimenting with baking. Instead, right now, it looks like quiet time when the kids have a nap, a dinner out with friends every fortnight or month, reading a good book in the bath and walking the dog to get a takeaway coffee. Or basically any task done alone without children to be honest! Even though they are small things, they are critical for having that mental space and time away from the day-to-day.
Q: Can we gain insight into your morning ritual, what does it look like and does it shape the rest of your day?
With two very young kids, my morning ritual is not what I would like it to be just yet! My awake time varies (I suppose on the plus side there’s no need for an alarm?!) and it’s normally a bit of a rush to get everyone ready and out the door. That said, there are a few basics that I find essential to getting in the right head space for the day, starting with getting a few moments to myself before they wake up. So I find I wake around 530am and (normally!) that allows for a bit of peace and quiet before the kids are up. In that time I try not to check any work-related things - emails and social media - as it just makes me feel anxious that there is something I need to be actioning and I’m still hours away from getting to my desk. Instead, I try to lie in bed and think of things I’m excited about for the day or look at something I find inspiring like interiors magazines for example. Then the kids are awake and it’s all a circus until they are out the door. When I actually sit down to work in the morning, I always start the day with a coffee and checking my Life Designer to see what’s on. I migrate anything over from my to-do list I didn’t get done the previous day and then quickly scan emails and add anything that has come up which needs to be on the list. These 10 minutes at the start of the day really helps me focus as I prioritise what I need to get done and in which order to stay on track.
Q: What’s your favourite Retreatment Botanics product (if you can name just one)?
I absolutely love Retreatment Botanics products – they all smell amazing and give that luxury spa at home feel! It’s a hard choice but I’ve been using the firming eye contour cream and it really helps me look and feel more together. I’ve noticed so many more fine lines around my eyes since having kids a few years ago – I’m not sure if it’s because I’m in my mid-30s, or because I’m not getting anywhere near enough sleep, or because I’m suddenly having selfies squished next to pristine dewy baby skin – but it’s a problem area I’ve wanted to address. I find the firming eye contour cream gives that immediate fresh feel and reduces puffiness making me feel and look more awake.